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Watching Her Watching

I was fortunate enough to receive free tickets to see the spectacular performance of Luna Negra Dance Theater Saturday night. I was planning to attend anyway. I even attempted to round-up some girlfriends to head to the show and be theater goers with me, but was unsuccessful. It turned out to be in my benefit that I was turned down. My lovely and artistic neighbors are dancers in this contemporary group and offered me tickets. Free!

I took my six-year-old daughter, who has taken ballet classes for a year and a half. This was her first outing to a  professional dance performance. When I told her we were going, she responded with jumps, squeals and happy claps.  She was ecstatic to wear a special dress and fancy shoes. (Apparently I don’t take her out often enough.) I worried that she would fall asleep sometime during the 2 hour-long show. The dancing was scheduled to begin at the late hour (for a 6-year-old) at 8 p.m. which is her normal bedtime.

I had no idea it would be such a memorable evening. From the moment we arrived, she was older, more mature. She waited patiently while we stood in line to collect our tickets. She raced ahead of me to find our seats. She browsed through the performance brochure, pulled at my arm and pointed each time she found pictures of our neighbors. For nearly the entire evening her face shone with interest, excitement and awe of what she was witnessing. She pointed and whispered when our friends were on stage. She asked questions about the costumes, footwear and choreography. She noticed the similarities and differences in style of the three performances. She compared  and contrasted their dancing with her dancing. She applauded wildly, but chastised me when I let out a few “woo’s”  She was a terrific date.

After the show, we met our friends in the lobby and my daughter was given a tour of the dressing rooms and the stage. She was even introduced to one of the artistic directors. When asked which performance was her favorite, she took a moment to give thought to her answer, then responded, “All of them!” When asked what her favorite part of the evening was, she blurted out, “Everything!”

We got lost on the way to the car and even at the late hour of 10:30,  she managed to buckle her own seatbelt without complaining (which is often unheard of when up way past her bedtime.) She chattered for about 10 minutes about the show, then drifted off to sleep. At home  I got her settled for the night, then sat down to give my husband a brief overview of the evening. He inquired about the performance and her response. He expressed surprise by her maturity,  attentiveness and fascination. Then he asked me what I thought of the dancing. While I felt it was a phenomenal show to see, my favorite part was watching her watching.